An open letter to Carver Center students



Mrs. Mlinek

It’s time to admit something you’ve always suspected: We teachers do, in fact, exist only for you. When school lets out for the day, teachers wander the halls like unattended SIMS characters. We have no interest or purpose beyond tending to your needs and desires. Before breaks, when Ms. Haley chants that you need to be out of the building by 2:45, it’s actually because the entire faculty and staff of Carver Center dissolves into thin air at 2:50. For us, Spring Break is spent in a disembodied fog where we float outside of time and space. It’s cold there.



So when all of your assignments are marked missing, and you rush into my room the day after the quarter ends begging to turn them all in at once, I will tell you that I do not have the time to grade it all. But that’s a lie. I have all the time in the world. Once you walk out of the building, I have absolutely nothing to do but wait until you return again. Being a teacher is much like being a dog, but with less personhood.




Something that I love is when students tell me long, convoluted stories about why they were unable to complete their homework. For one, it fills some of the void in my soul. For another, it’s fascinating to hear about how many next-door neighbors need to be rushed to the emergency room, how many pets almost succumb to sudden choking incidents but then recover just before the start of school, and how many brief but violent illnesses you all encounter. What terrible trials you go through, coincidentally, every evening before a major assignment or test.


Another thing that warms my heart is how the seniors come to class 5, 10, or even 15 minutes late. What joy it gives me! I feel my heart glow when I see your confused face just after giving the rest of the class detailed and organized instruction on the day’s activity. I love to know that you’ve enjoyed a leisurely morning, savoring that last bite of Fruit Loops before sauntering into school. While hunched frantically over piles of papers to grade in the pre-dawn, it gives me great peace of mind knowing that you are probably still sound asleep, warm and snug under a down comforter I could never afford on my salary.



This reminds me – I so enjoy it when you wait until we begin the most crucial part of the lesson to ask to use the restroom. There is nothing I love more than planning for a creative, interesting and educational activity for you, herding a room full of half-asleep children through the steps, and then doing it all over again because you forgot to pee during lunch.


But I must say that my favorite thing about you, dear student, is the way you keep your face buried at all times in your phone. The light reflected up on your face does not at all make you look like you’ve been dead for the past year. And the lovely curve of your neck as you bend down, pretending to look at your lap, does not at all make you look like a gargoyle. And nobody but you has noticed how nice the light is in the stairwell by the gym. Only you, you unique butterfly, knows that is the best place for selfies. How clever you are. And how lucky I am to devote my every conscious moment to fulfilling your every whim.



With admiration as I slowly dissolve into nothingness at 2:50 pm,

~Mrs. Mlinek